Brendan Carr: We Have Technology to Break Cuba’s Internet Blockade; We Need the Political Will

People use mobile devices at a wireless communications (Wifi) hotspot at the Hotel Inglaterra in Havana, Cuba, on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), which represents companies including Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Microsoft Corp., and Facebook Inc., said it will come together with six other governmental and …
Francesco Pistilli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Brendan Carr, senior Republican commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told Breitbart News Sunday host Joel Pollak that U.S. firms can provide Internet access to Cuba and circumvent the digital blockade imposed on the one-party island state.

“We have the technical capability to circumvent that Internet blockade [in Cuba], and there’s two ways we can do it,” Carr told Pollak. “One, we can introduce new Internet connections and services from off-island that can connect directly to the smartphones of the people that are right there in Cuba. That’s path one.”

He continued, “Path two is we need to further bolster the technology that allows Cubans to circumvent the blockade on their own infrastructure. So we need to do both of those, and we can do both of those. It’s simply a question of  ‘Do we have the political will in the Biden administration to give the green light that’s necessary for American enterprises to engage in those activities?'”

“The only actual question that matters is [related to] political will,” he emphasized. “Do we have the political will to do this? If we do, then the technological issue is not in the way.”

He maintained, “There is the technical capacity to do this. This is not a theoretical thing that I’m making up. I’ve been to the manufacturing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that makes these high altitude platforms.”

Carr described some technological solutions for providing Internet access to Cuba.

He explained, “There’s a project that Google started years ago called Google Loon. It’s been shuttered as of about six months ago for commercial viability purposes, but they launched high-altitude balloons. These are balloons that are 65 to 80,000 feet above the air, and they effectively operate like cell sites in the air, and you can put these high-altitude balloons off the Cuba coast in the international airspace.”

Handsets and other cellular devices can receive Internet access — allowing them to send and receive data — from such balloons, Carr said. “The advantage of this technology is you don’t need to introduce new infrastructure on the ground,” he added.

The FCC used such balloon technology to provide Internet access and cellular service to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, Carr recalled.

Possession and deployment of such technology to provide Internet access to populations under digital censorship are tools to serve America’s national interest, Carr concluded.

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